Caving Caving


  • Sep 2
  • 07:00 AM
  • Corner Of Echols Dorm


  • Sep 2
  • 09:00 PM
  • Corner Of Echols Dorm


  • Aug 31
  • 05:00 PM


  • $0


  • Breathing Cave


The time has come. We will finally be making a club trip to the fabled Breathing Cave! Anyone who has caved with me knows that this is my absolute favorite cave. As the third largest cave system in Virginia (and the largest open for recreational caving), Breathing has a little bit of everything: the classic big mouth cave opening, a belly crawl to enter the cave, climby features, crawly features, a giant mud slide, a historic saltpeter mine, a technical vertical section, dry sections, wet sections, and the list goes on. One of my favorite features is called The Nutcracker and involves fitting your body through a keyhole (~2.5 feet in diameter) that is about 15 feet off the cave floor and then downclimbing about 20 feet on the other side. It has been several years since I was last here, and I am SO excited to not only go back, but to get to share it with some fellow ODC cavers! This cave is VERY long with a variety of different routes, features, and passages to explore. We will certainly not explore the whole cave, but I can guarantee that there will be fun stuff no matter what route we take.

Because we will plan to be in the cave for about 8 hours and some of the features require good caving technique to navigate safely, this is an intermediate trip. As such, I expect trip attendees to have some prior caving experience and comfort in the underground environment. Breathing’s season is limited (May 15th to September 15th), so it can be hard to get a trip in during the school year. Therefore, I am reserving 3 spots on this trip for our fantastic caving trip leaders (or caving trip leaders in training) so we can continue to share this experience with other ODC members. The remaining spots will go to qualified cavers in the order they sign up for the trip. Note that we will not be venturing into the vertical section, as it is quite deep into the cave, so no need for technical vertical skills on this trip.

The drive is about 2 hours, and the approach between the car and the cave is about a 45 minute hike. While this sounds like a lot of time spent getting there, believe me when I say it is so worth it. Get hype. Sign up. See you there.

7:00am – Leave Echols
9:00 – Arrive at parking area, go over safety/conservation information, and start the hike to the cave
10:00 – Start caving
6:00 – Finish caving, return to car
9:00 – Back at Echols

Gear to Bring:
– Water (3-4 L)
– Snack/Lunch
– 24 hour emergency food supply
– A trash bag for hypothermia kit
– A container for any human waste – pack it in, pack it out – we will be in the cave for a long time, so plan to use your waste containers!
– Clothes that can get dirty/ripped/ruined (GLOVES, long pants, and long sleeves are mandatory)
– Close toed shoes that can get dirty/ripped/ruined (trust me, you will not want to be in chacos); see note about clothes
– Caving helmet (please don’t use the club’s climbing helmets)
– No fewer than 2 working headlamps with spare batteries
– At least 1 spare light (can be a headlamp or flashlight)
– A bag or backpack that can get dirty/ripped/ruined
– Clean clothes/shoes for the car (please please)
– Trash bag for dirty clothes, shoes, and backpack (make sure it’s big enough)

Important notes:
– You MUST read the Caving Checklist provided by the club. It can be found under the Resources tab on the website. I have also linked it here:
– You are responsible for gathering all of your own equipment. Most of the gear is available at the club’s gear room.
– You should be comfortable crawling around in tight spaces and being in the dark.
– Because caving is such a dangerous sport, I will be very strict in ensuring you have the proper equipment (i.e., if you are not properly equipped with EVERYTHING mentioned above (even trash bags and spare clothing), you are not entering the cave).
– It is a good idea to not have anything massively important scheduled for the evening of the trip in the unlikely event we are delayed

**Drivers needed! Gas will be reimbursed**




Trips Attended: 170 Trips Led: 136

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